Review of New Zealand’s defence body calls for ‘coherence from the top’

By on 08/10/2015 | Updated on 25/09/2020
The organisation falls under the Ministry of Defence

The leadership of the body tasked with providing defence and security in New Zealand must show greater accountability and leadership in order to achieve its long-term strategic improvement goals, an independent review has found.

Government is investing in new military capabilities and platforms at the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF), to secure enhanced combat capability by 2020.

The organisation, which falls under the Ministry of Defence, has also developed a framework for a five-year, a ten-year and a 25-year improvement plan called Future 35.

The Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) review of the NZDF, published on 24 September, says that “notwithstanding Future 35, it is difficult to say what its practical implications are over the next four to five years.”

The report continues: “Much clearer definition of what is required this year, next year and the following year is necessary.

“The NZDF leadership must hold themselves and the agency to account for delivering the required capability on time, to budget, this year, next year and in subsequent years.

“Coherence from the top down is required. The new norm of how the NZDF operates must be to have one plan driven from the top that then allows the services or other parts of the NZDF to get on with delivering the required capability.”

The review adds that “clarity about the real drivers and therefore the priorities that are critical to achieving enhanced combat capability by 2020 will be needed in order to keep the NZDF on track to achieve its Future 35 vision.”

Although NZDF is a “capital-intensive organisation”, the review says, “in reality its capability is built on its people.”

Fundamentally, it says, “the organisational performance challenge over the four-year excellence horizon is to grow its people capability, including its approach to force generation, to allow it to fully utilise its enhanced military platforms.”

In his response to the review, chief of defence force Lieutenant General Tim Keating wrote: “Our whole Leadership team will take up the challenge of helping all members of the NZDF better understand how they individually contribute to enhanced combat capability.

“I want to provide personnel at all levels of the NZDF with a clear message of what our 2020 goal of enhanced combat capability will mean for them.”

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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